Sobering up and getting into Recovery is a very daunting task that lies ahead of any alcoholic/addict. It is both frightening and tiresome, and I spent a large portion of my early sobriety remaining dry based on the fear of going back. Fear is a character defect, one that I asked God to remove from the beginning – but He didn't. Fear was how I survived the early stages; it kept me alive by making me run from the Beast that is alcohol. For the better part of a year, I white knuckled it through nightly meetings, horrified of what was going to happen if I went back; it was all I could think of – fear.
When I first sobered up, I was absolutely TERRIFIED of going back out; I was literally running for my life, away from the Beast's grasp. It was all I could do to stay upright as I looked behind me to make sure I was at least one, frightened step away from its reach, begging and praying to a god that I no longer believed in, "Please! Please take me away from here!"
I couldn't see ahead; the night-fog was too thick. 'What happens if I trip? What happens if I fail?' But I kept running, it was all I could do to stay away from this Beast that wanted nothing more than to kill me. So on and on I ran, night by night, out of breath and terrified of returning to my past, but getting too tired to keep moving on. I reminded myself that the Beast was still there, hot on my trail and lurking in the dark, ready to take me out – so I kept running, afraid of the gruesome outcome I knew was surely in store for me.
But inevitably, as I kept looking back, I would trip. Time and again I had fallen into the self-loathing pits. The deep, dark holes were misery enough for me to welcome the Beast should it ever find me; to let it finish me off. Invariably, I somehow, someway, managed to get out before the Beast caught up to me, and I pushed on once again – alone and afraid.
But I was not so alone.
At some point, I had to turn my head around, to watch where I was going, and to plant my foot so as to avoid the abundant Pits of Depression that were scattered across my unknown path. It was then, when I stopped focusing on what I was running from, that the fog began to lift, and a distant, yellow light began to shine. Through the misty haze, I could see a multitude of people just like me, running just as terrified as I was, from a Beast of their own. Some would struggle and fight, some would fall prey, and others would reign victorious. The victors would assist their brothers and sisters, lifting them out of their holes to Hell.
I could finally see where I was going. I could see a place where there was hope.
I suddenly just stopped being afraid. I could look to the Universe and reach out to the Creator I wanted to believe in, and see Her outstretched hand. As the Light of Life began to shine through Her, I could finally look forward, see where I was headed, and do what I had to do to avoid the Pits of Destruction. It was then, at that moment, that I was able to breathe.
I caught my second wind. My heavy, sloth-like feet slowly began to feel lighter, and swifter. The wind that was once the exhalation of the Beast's breath upon my neck was replaced by the Life Force of the Universe, and I began to float with each stride. The Beast became further and further behind me; the forced running was no longer forced, it was effortless and smooth -- as long as I looked forward and worked through my steps. The panicked racing was replaced with content strides as serenity began to replace my worry and fear.
A quick glance, and a quick one only, assured me that I'd made great progress; the Beast was no longer in sight, but it was still there. It will always be there, tirelessly hounding me, hunting me, wanting me dead. But as long as I look ahead, I can see where I'm going; if I look back, I could trip.
As I continue my journey, I follow the victors’ examples; if I see a fellow sufferer, maybe victory over my difficulties will bear witness to the power, the love, and the new way of life that I’ve received, and shine a new Light of Hope. And when they reach out for help, I will slow down enough to grasp their hand and guide them out of their Pit of Despair. Hopefully, they will see their path much sooner than I saw mine; and watch the fog lift, the Light of Life come out, and eventually focus on helping those that were just like us – suffering.
This is Sobriety. This is Recovery. This – this is The Chase. Not one where we were being pursued by the Beast, but one where we are following the warm, peaceful light; helping others find their way out of their frightening, hopeless, and perhaps bottomless pits – and finding the Light.